Red-hot Kelly spearheads Royal rout of Carlow
Meath 4-19 Carlow 0-8
A superb Meath full-forward line laid the foundation for a rout of Carlow in this first-round encounter at Ratoath.
The Royals were, as the scoreline suggests, the dominant side and it was their ability to strike for goals which saw the score mount against a plucky Carlow team.
Impressive right corner-forward Kevin Ross raised the game's first green flag on six minutes, while full-forward Ciarán Lynch followed with the second on 12 minutes.
Cieran Kelly got the third goal as the hosts took a commanding 3-10 to 0-6 lead into the interval.
The in form Kelly was to inflict most damage on the Carlow defence as he finished with a tally of 2-3 as the home side's full-forward line finished with an haul of 4-7.
Cian O'Brien and Alan Farrell provided a formidable midfield pairing for the Royals, despite the best efforts of Carlow's Pauric Hickey in the sector.
In defence, Gavin McGowan at full-back and half-backs Niall Shortall and Ben O'Brien stood out.
The visitors fought hard to make an impact but simply came up against a superior force on the night.
Scorers - Meath: C Kelly 2-3, C Lynch 1-3, K Ross 1-1, D Quinn 0-3, A Farrell, J Finnerty 0-2 each, W Carry, S Crosby, D McNamara, C O'Brien, B O'Brien 0-1 each. Carlow: C Blake, L Walker 0-2 each; S Doyle, N Quinlan, J Ryan, D Thompson 0-1 each.
Meath: J O'Connor; M Flood, G McGowan, C O'Connor; K Traynor, N Shortall, B Brennan, A Farrell, C O'Brien; D Quinn, B O'Brien, D McNamara; K Ross, C Lynch, C Kelly. Subs: J Finnerty for McNamara; Scrosby for O'Brien.
Carlow - R Moore; S Kelly, D Hickey, E Davis; M Rennick, J Ryan, F O'Toole; J Dwyer, P Hickey; L Walker, S Doyle, M Davis; C Blake, K Hession, N Quinlan. Subs: E Brady for Ryan; D Thompson for Dwyer; B Cawley for E Davis; J Lee for Hession. ref - S Murphy (Louth).